Three Airlines Hit With Major Fees for Passenger Rights Violations
This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.
Although airline passenger rights in the US aren’t quite as extensive as those in Europe, certain protections do exist here in the States. When carriers are found in violation of these rules, the US Department of Transportation hands out fines — and American, Delta and Frontier recently were on the receiving end for a variety of reasons.
American was handed a fine of $250,000 for failing to issue refunds to passengers in a timely manner in the first half of 2015. AA blamed the delay on discrepancies in the computer systems being integrated following its 2013 merger with US Airways. Under 14 CFR 259.5 9(b), airlines have to issue refunds within 20 days. The fine statement did not say how long American was taking to issue refunds, but called its actions “unfair and deceptive.”
Delta Air Lines
Delta received a $200,000 fine after being caught fudging its baggage-handling numbers. The DOT told Delta last year that its baggage reporting policy was non-compliant. According to the Atlanta Journal Constitution, Delta failed to properly report damage when replacing damaged bags with a new piece of luggage. Delta didn’t use the reporting program required by the government, known as World Tracer. If the airline had properly reported the damaged bags, its 2012-2013 baggage ranking would have likely dropped from fourth to fifth.
Delta was also slapped with a $90,000 fine in March, for failing to offer adequate food service during extended tarmac delays at New York-JFK and Atlanta Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport (ATL). And a week ago, the airline found itself on the receiving end of a Twitter tirade from conservative pundit Ann Coulter.
Frontier received the largest fine of the bunch. It’ll have to hand over $400,000 for failing to solicit volunteers before bumping passengers in cases of over-sold flights, along with failing to assist disabled passengers in getting on and off aircraft, or within airport terminals. The Denver Business Journal reports that Frontier has promised to update its policies in response to these incidents.
Over-sold flights have been in the news a lot this year, as in the United Airlines case of the dragging incident and subsequent injury of Dr. David Dao. Since that incident, United and Delta announced they would dramatically increase the maximum compensation offered to volunteers during over-sells. Dallas-based Southwest has promised to stop over-selling flights completely.
Featured photo by Kathryn Scott Osler / Getty Images
WELCOME OFFER: 60,000 Points
TPG'S BONUS VALUATION*: $1,200
CARD HIGHLIGHTS: 2X points on all travel and dining, points transferrable to over a dozen travel partners
*Bonus value is an estimated value calculated by TPG and not the card issuer. View our latest valuations here.
- Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $750 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
- 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants worldwide & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
- Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards. For example, 60,000 points are worth $750 toward travel
- Get unlimited deliveries with a $0 delivery fee and reduced service fees on orders over $12 for a minimum of one year on qualifying food purchases with DashPass, DoorDash's subscription service. Activate by 12/31/21.
- Earn 5X points on Lyft rides through March 2022. That’s 3X points in addition to the 2X points you already earn on travel.